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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Wednesday, 28 November 2029

Last Minute Changes / News

Covid-19: Club walks are suspended, [29-May] however we are looking at resuming (both train and car) friendly circular walks with shorter journey times.

Longer Trips/Holidays: Brecon has been postponed to July (keep fingers crossed), Scotland to next year. Further weekend trips have been scheduled for August, September and October (see below).

The last phase of spring: see Nature Blog

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Scotland: Roybridge

Due to current advice from the Government and BMC to stay home (and off mountains), the trip to Roybridge planned for 16 May to 23 May 2020 has been postponed to 22-29 May 2021. The trip will go ahead as originally planned at that time.
For more information on the area, see Roybridge information. For more information about the trip and to check availability, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Ladybower Trip: to the back of beyond (09-12 October)

Up to 4 days of walking in the Upper Derwent Valley, while avoiding travel on the weekend:

09/10 Friday to 12/10 Monday 
(likely in below order, train and bus times as per the current schedule and prone to update nearer the time)

09/10 Friday – SWC 266c Sheffield to Ladybower Inn via Burbage Rocks and Stanage Edge [09.02 train from St. Pancras, arrives Sheffield 11.00]
10/10 Saturday – SWC 348 Ladybower Inn Circular via Derwent Edge and Strines [10.30 bus line 273 from Sheffield, arrives Ladybower Inn 11.04; rtn buses at 16.30 and 18.45, arriving Sheffield 17.05 and 19.15]; pub lunch at the Strines Inn
11/10 Sunday – SWC 350 Fairholmes Circular via Bleaklow and Derwent Head [09.00 bus line 273 from Sheffield, stops Ladybower Inn 09.25, arrives Fairholmes 09.32; rtn bus at 18.34, arrives Sheffield 19.11]
12/10 Monday – SWC 349 Ladybower Inn Circular via Alport Castles and Derwent Reservoirs or Win Hill [08.00 bus line 274 from Sheffield, arrives Ladybower Inn 08.34; rtn buses at 16.30 and 18.45, arriving Sheffield 17.05 and 19.15]; the Win Hill variant can be finished at Bamford station to catch a train to London there. 

Accommodation:
-      with a car: stay anywhere in the area;
-      while relying on buses: Ladybower Inn, Yorkshire Bridge Inn (10 mins walk away), in Sheffield or anywhere along bus routes 273/274 between Sheffield and Ladybower, but not in the Hope Valley.

The walk’s start times will be based on the 273/274 buses from Sheffield having arrived at Ladybower/Fairholmes respectively.

Friday, 25 September 2020

September in Snowdonia (25-28 September)

As a first, the SWC will be making a long weekend excursion to Snowdonia, North Wales. The weekend will be based in Beddgelert, a charming village in the shadow of Snowdon with immediate access to some interesting hills. The routes will be map-led and as with the Scottish trips one needs to come prepared for high mountain terrain and the risks associated with it.

Beddgelert is accessible by public transportation -- train to Bangor and bus. Accommodation in the village is available in various pubs, B&Bs and self-catering cottages. For further information, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Friday, 14 August 2020

The Hope Valley Revisited (14-17 August)

Up to 4 days of walking in the Hope Valley, while avoiding travel on the weekend:

14/08 Friday to 17/08 Monday (in a to-be-decided order) – new walks SWC 343 Hope to Hathersage or Bamford via Castleton and SWC 360 Hathersage to Bamford via Bamford and Hordron Edges plus two other walks from the previously tried and tested ones.

Accommodation:
-      stay anywhere along the Hope Valley Line, from Sheffield in the East to New Mills in the West (via Grindleford, Hathersage, Bamford, Hope, Edale, Chinley).

The walk’s start times will be based on the trains from both directions having arrived.
The Friday walk will start in line with the arrival of the connecting train off the 09.02 from London.

Friday, 24 July 2020

The Merry Widow at Opera Holland Park (OHP) -Cancelled

OHP has cancelled all performances due to the COVID-19 outbreak.



Thursday, 16 July 2020

Brecon Revisited (16-20 July) [Fourth Update 21/04/20]

Covid-19 Pandemic: 

Fourth Update 21/04/20
Revised dates now set: 16-20 July.


Third Update 20/04/20
As the UK lockdown has now been extended until 7 May at least, this trip has now been postponed from its original dates 07-11 May into July, starting on a yet to be defined Thursday. This assumes of course, that by then we’ll be let out of our cages and into the wild countryside again by our Supreme Leaders…
 

As the Welsh Government has ordered all accommodation providers to stay shut until further notice, you should have no problem in cancelling or amending any existing bookings. Great Western Railway meanwhile have enabled cost-free changes or even cancellations of existing bookings, incl. for Advance Tickets booked before 23 March. For details see here: https://www.gwr.com/safety
 
Second Update 06/04/20
Due to Wales' devolved power to manage its own countryside access, the lockdown has unfolded a little more severely there than in England and Scotland. As of March 26, large parts of Snowdonia, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and the Brecon Beacons NP are closed to the public, including to locals. These closures will be reviewed every 21 days, with the first review due on April 15. [For full details of closed areas and paths (basically anything overly popular plus all high-lying Access Land, incl. most mountain tops), read here: https://www.breconbeacons.org/coronavirus-covid-19 ]
.

As a consequence, it is likely that this long weekend trip will be moved down the line soon after 15 April by some weeks or even a few months, with the intention of rolling over existing train and accommodation bookings. Accommodation providers should be amenable to amend bookings for no charge, certainly if they are then still under order by the Welsh Government to stay shut. Great Western Railway meanwhile have enabled cost-free changes or even cancellations of existing bookings, incl. Advance Tickets booked before 23 March. For details see here: https://www.gwr.com/safety 

Update 20/03/20
Whether the trip goes ahead will depend on government advice about the coronavirus situation nearer the time. Adequate notice will be given if the trip has to be cancelled or can be moved to another date, if the advice and the development of the pandemic allow it.
If you have booked accomodation and don't have the option to cancel for free, moving the reservation to another time might still be an option.
If you have booked Advance train tickets: Great Western Railway have today relaxed their rules and are now saying "You can also amend Advance tickets to an alternative future date without having to pay an admin fee".  

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Up to 4 days of walking in the westerly and central parts of the Brecon Beacons, while avoiding travel on the Bank Holiday and the weekend:

07/05 Thursday -- Arrival
08/05 Friday (Bank Holiday) to 10/05 Sunday – 3 out of these 4: SWC 278 Brecon Beacons Horseshoe (or possibly SWC 285 Fan Dance) from Storey Arms Bus Stop, SWC 279 The Black Mountain, SWC 307 Fforest Fawr Traverse and SWC 308 Bwlch Circular, each with a second option of a less tough walk: SWC 85 Pen y Fan and Corn Du, SWC 86 The Black Mountain (Short) and SWC 280 Henrhyd Waterfall (Bluebells galore). Exact sequence of walks dependent on bus schedules.
11/05 Monday -- SWC 306 Brecon Circular (from 5 to 22 km) and Departure

Public transport-based travel options are as follows:
·        Paddington – Abergavenny plus Bus Line 43/X43 from the bottom of Station Road,
·        Paddington – Merthyr Tydfil or Cardiff plus Bus Line T4,
·        Paddington – Neath (or Swansea) and Bus Line T6 from Neath Bus Station [5 mins away]. 

[Advance train tickets can already be booked on the GWR website!
For Abergavenny book trains to/from Newport (Wales), the connecting train is run by a different company and can be booked on the day.]

Friday, 19 June 2020

Rigoletto at Opera Holland Park (OHP) - Cancelled

OHP has cancelled all performances due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Sunday Walk - Bruton (Somerset) Circular via Stourhead [Third Update 18/04/20: walk now cancelled]

Covid-19 Pandemic:

Third Update 18/04/20 
As the UK lockdown has now been extended until 7 May at least, this walk has now been cancelled, but it will be my first candidate for a Sunday posting once access to the countryside is open again. As mentioned below, train tickets booked before 23 March will be fully reimbursed by GWR, check here: https://www.gwr.com/safety
 
Second Update 06/04/20
As this walk – unlike the long weekend or week-long trips to Wales or Scotland – does not involve accommodation, I’ll wait until closer to the scheduled walk date to decide whether to postpone it to a date a few weeks or months down the line. Great Western Railway meanwhile have enabled cost-free changes or even cancellations of existing bookings, incl. Advance Tickets booked before 23 March. For details see here: https://www.gwr.com/safety

Update 20/03/20 
If you have booked Advance train tickets for this walk: Great Western Railway have today relaxed their rules and are now saying "You can also amend Advance tickets to an alternative future date without having to pay an admin fee". A re-scheduling of this walk to a later date would therefore be an option, should government advice nearer the time suggest that restrictions on movements will be relaxed later in the year.

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Length: 22.7 km (14.1 mi) [Longer Walks possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent: 456m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours, Toughness: 7 out of 10

Take the 08.51 Plymouth train from Paddington (Reading 09.15), change Westbury onto the Weymouth train (10.03/10.21), arrives Bruton 10.44.
From Ealing B’way there is the 08.35 to Reading with a tight connection (09.11/09.15) or the earlier 08.11 train, but it’s probably best to go via P’ton (08.23-08.35)?

Return trains:
17.18 – change Bath Spa (18.03/18.13), arrives Paddington 19.39;
19.11 – change Westbury (19.32/19.54), arrives Paddington 21.10;
21.16 – change Westbury (21.38/21.58), arrives Paddington 23.35.

Buy a Bruton (Somerset) return. Cheap Advance Tickets are not yet on sale though.
Note: Bruton is outside the Network Southeast, so Network Railcard users should buy a discounted Reading Return with the Railcard, and a separate Reading – Bruton Day Return.

This excursion is centred on the small remote Somerset town of Bruton, with its honey-coloured stone-built cottages, a large dovecote on a mound overlooking the townscape and a fine selection of tea options. It leads along the vigorous River Brue and through bucolic pastures up to the wooded range forming the boundary between Wiltshire and Somerset, with the dominant local landmark Alfred’s Tower, a folly, on top of it. From there you drop down through enchanting woods to the heart of the Stourhead Estate at the source of the River Stour, with its breath-taking 18th century landscaped garden with lakeside walks, grottoes and classical temples (National Trust, ticketed entry, although large parts of the garden and most notable buildings are visible from the walk route).
After lunch at the estate pub or an NT restaurant you circle back past the large Palladian mansion with views, then through a U-shaped grassy valley (by the source of the river Stour) and up through hanging woods to continue high above the Brue Valley with fine far views across the South Somerset landscape.
Towards the end the route passes the renowned art gallery
Hauser & Wirth Somerset with its fascinating bar and restaurant and an optional loop routes up to Bruton’s dovecote and through town.
The main exhibition at Hauser on the day of the walk (closes at 17.00) is: Don McCullin – The Stillness of Life

Walk Options:
An out-and-back to the Bronze Age Bell Barrow site Jack’s Castle adds 550m.
A loop through the wooded Park Hill via its Iron Age hillfort site adds 900m.
A mid-afternoon loop through Walk Farm Hay Meadows, currently map-led, adds 1.6 km.
A loop at the end up to Bruton’s dovecote and through town past most tea places adds 1.5 km.

Lunch: The Spread Eagle Inn (11.0 km/6.8 mi, food to 16.00) or The Stourhead Estate Restaurant (11.4 km/7.1 mi, food to 15.00), both on the Stourhead Estate.
Tea: Plenty options, including a Hauser & Wirth-managed pub just off route, 4.5 km from the end. See the webpage or the pdf for details.

For walk directions, maps, height profiles, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.342

This slot swapped with Stargazer who had swapped with Mr. M Tiger, ultimately against my slot on 26 April… (are you keeping up?)

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Saturday Walk - The New Forest to the Sea: Brockenhurst to Lymington with or without Extension(s) === NOW ALSO CANCELLED

Covid-19 Pandemic:  The SWC is a self-led walking club, and as always, posted walks are no more than an invitation for people to join a group walk without the guarantee that there will be a group. Walk posters will keep posting walks for as long as walkers turn up for them. For past attendee numbers please check the ‘Walk Reports’ section on the ‘Comments’ tab on this website.
And while being in the outdoors seems generally accepted to be a lower risk environment than staying indoors, for any advice on whether you should travel on public transport, go walking in groups and eat or drink in pubs or cafes, please consult the latest advice from HM Government and its agencies, especially the NHS. 


Length: from 17.7 km (11.0 mi) or 25.1 km/15.6 mi or up to 32.2 km/20.0 mi
Ascent/Descent: from 129/147m
Net Walking Time short walk: ca. 4 hours, Toughness: 3 out of 10
Net Walking Time longest option: ca. 7 hours, Toughness: 6 out of 10

Take the 09.05 Weymouth train from Waterloo (Clapham J 09.12), arrives Brockenhurst 10.37.
Return trains: xx.29 and xx.59 (change Brockenhurst, total journey time 110 minutes).
Buy a Lymington Pier return.

This walk is – for most mortals – a little too short to justify the long train journey. But help is at hand: an improvised, map-led extension (or two) just after the lunch pub (I have – with the walk author’s agreement – added the routes to the webpage for today). The extension leads through Pennington and Keyhaven Marshes to Keyhaven (pub: The Gun Inn), or even out via Hurst Beach to Hurst Castle, then back along the coast to the ‘normal’ walk route. [The return along the coast is the reverse of the start of SWC 62 Lymington – Barton-on-Sea.]

Here’s the blurb for the ‘normal’ walk:
Although a good part of this walk is within the New Forest National Park, there are only occasional encounters with the remote heathland or dense woodland which you might expect. An early section is in fact through the landscaped parkland of a now-demolished country house, Brockenhurst Park, and the walk continues along pleasant broad tracks through Roydon Woods Nature Reserve. Shortly after leaving the woods you come to a possible early lunch stop on the main road between Setley and Battramsley.
The next section includes the walk's one stretch across wide open heathland at Shirley Holms, with fine views across the gorse and heather. After crossing Sway Road, you leave the National Park and the walk becomes less distinctive for a while, past farms and stables with occasional distant glimpses of the Isle of Wight. Eventually you come to the scattered hamlet of Lower Pennington and the alternative lunch pub.
The final section to the attractive sailing resort of Lymington is quite different in character. You walk along raised embankments between mudflats and the coastal marshes of Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve, with magnificent views of the Isle of Wight across the Solent. Now a haven for wildlife, this area was the site of the Lymington Saltworks, the country's leading supplier of sea salt in the 18thC. The industry only ceased (in 1865) when salt could be obtained more cheaply from mines in Cheshire.
At the end of the walk a lucky few might be allowed to sip pink gins at one of the town's exclusive yacht clubs, but there are plenty of other places willing to serve us hoi polloi before the longish train journey home.

All Walk Options’ Walk Option:
You could extend the walk by 1½ km, passing the Walhampton Monument and returning from Lymington Pier instead of the Town station.

Lunch: The Chequers Inn (13.0 km/8.1 mi, food all day) in Lower Pennington.
Tea: Pubs in Lymington. See the webpage or the walk directions pdf for details.

For walk directions, maps, height profiles, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.226.a

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Sunday walk: Greenham Common and Berkshire farmland

Newbury to Woolhampton
Length: 17,5km (10.9 miles) Toughness: 2/10

Both today's walks were posted last month, but were scuppered by Storm Dennis, so we're giving them another chance today.

10:36 Castle Cary train from Paddington arriving Newbury at 11:14.
If starting from Ealing Broadway, take the 09:44 Reading train, changing at Maidenhead or Reading for a train to Newbury that arrives at 11:01.

Return trains from Midgham to Paddington, are at 15:56 (direct), or at 18:02 and 20:03 (changing at Reading) (journey time 44 mins or 57 mins). If you just miss one of these trains (or even if you don’t) and if daylight allows, you could extend the walk by walking westwards along the canal to Thatcham station which has additional trains to Paddington at 15:02, 17:04, and 19:01. This adds 4.5km to the total distance.

The walk was originally designed to start from Newbury Racecourse, but trains to Newbury are faster and more frequent, and the alternative start is included in the walk directions.

This is an easy walk, with some gentle climbs en route, that crosses Greenham Common where the abandoned cruise missile silos still loom menacingly over the landscape. The remainder of the walk traverses quiet woods and farmland. The recommended lunchtime pub is The Travellers Friend in Crookham Common (01189 713156), and the tea stop is the popular Rowbarge pub close to Midgham station. But do leave time to reach the London-bound platform before the level crossing barriers descend, after which there’s no way across the tracks.

You will need to download the Walk Directions

T=swc.34

Sunday walk: Scenic views in the Medway valley

Wateringbury Circular with Nettlestead loop
Length: 17.3km (10.7 miles) Toughness: 3/10

Both today's walks were posted last month, but were scuppered by Storm Dennis, so we're giving them another chance today.

09:40 Dover Priory train from Charing Cross (London Bridge 09:49, Orpington 10:06), changing at Paddock Wood (arr 10:32; dep 10:40) to arrive at Wateringbury at 10:51.

Return trains to Charing Cross, changing at Paddock Wood or Tonbridge, are at xx:08 (journey time 76 mins). You can also return to St Pancras International, changing at Strood, with trains at xx:51 (journey time 79 mins), but fares are significantly more expensive.

If you decide in advance what time you will return, the cheapest fare is an Advance ticket each way for a total of £12.50 (£8.30 with railcard). Otherwise buy an off-peak day return for £16.30 (£10.75 with railcard).

This new walk in an attractive part of the Medway valley had a couple of successful outings last year, but this will be the first time we’ve tried out the ‘preamble’ of a 2-mile extension to Nettlestead at the start of the walk. We then follow the figure-of-eight main route which switches sides as it meanders downstream to East Farleigh and back again, with short excursions into low hills on either side. Several mediaeval bridges and churches are passed on the way, though the churches will probably have a service in progress or be locked.

The recommended lunch pub is the Good Intent (01622-812426) at Farleigh Green, reached almost 5 miles into the walk. Phone ahead to reserve a table.

If energy and daylight permit, you could conclude the walk on returning to Wateringbury with a further 1.7 mile extension upstream to Yalding.

You will need to download the Walk Directions

T=swc.336.x

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Saturday Walk – Hampton Court and two Royal Parks

Extra Walk 240 – Hampton Court Circular
Length: 12½ km (7.8 miles). Toughness: 1/10

10:36 Hampton Court train from Waterloo (Vauxhall 10:40, Clapham Jct 10:45, etc), arriving at 11:12. If you just miss this at Waterloo, the 10:42 to Basingstoke overtakes it on its non-stop journey to Surbiton (arr 10:59, dep 11:05). Hampton Court is in TfL Zone 6.

Trains back from Hampton Court are half-hourly at xx:24 & xx:54.

As February has been officially declared as the wettest month since the dinosaurs died out, here's a short walk in a couple of Royal Parks to escape from the sodden countryside. Although the walk author will no doubt have done his best to devise a muddy route, there'll be more chance of diverting onto paved paths and other firm surfaces if the conditions warrant it.

The suggested lunch stop is the Pheasantry café in Bushy Park's Woodland Gardens, which you'll reach at around 12:30pm (and again an hour or so later if you'd prefer to press on). There are plenty of tea places towards the end of the walk, eg. the Tiltyard café in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. You'll need a king's ransom if you want to visit the palace and formal gardens, but the café and refreshment kiosks are in the (free) ‘informal gardens’: these usually have a good display of early spring flowers and blossom.

You'll need to bring the directions from the Hampton Court Circular walk page. For those willing to go off-piste the written directions include some suggested detours off the (fairly straightforward) GPS route, eg. in the Woodland Gardens.
T=swc.240

Rare opportunity to Explore the seldomly visited Ash Ranges

SWC Walk 96:  Ash Vale Circular – starting in Ash, finishing in either Ash Vale or Ash t=swc.96.c

Length: 16 Miles or 28.3 km for those more metrically minded to make the full circuit back to Ash or 14 Miles (22.5 km) if opting to finish in Ash Vale with further options to shorten described in the walk notes

Difficulty:  5 out of 10

Train:  Take the 9:30 AM South Western Guildford bound train from London Waterloo arriving in Ash at 10:33 (changing in Guildford, arriving 10:06; departing 10:23).  Return trains from Ash are at 17:47; 18:03; 18:47; 19:17; 19:47; 20:03; 20:17; 20:47; 21:17 and 21:47 and from Ash Vale 09 and 39 past the hour until 22:09. Buy a day return to Ash or Ash Vale.

This walk suffers from a lack of posting….largely, I believe, due to the complication of passing through a frequently used firing range….However, we are in luck today….according to the relevant MOD website….no firing should be taking place today on the Ash Ranges through which this walk goes….so a perfect day to explore the seldomly visited area…..In addition to the exploring the new, this walk takes in some old familiar territory along an enjoyable stretch of the North Downs….I am suggesting that we start in Ash (as opposed to Ash Vale), such that we can end the walk along the canal stretch with the option of having post (or near post) walk refreshments at the canal-side Swan Inn… More information and the walk instructions can be found here.

The recommended lunch stop is the Good Intent (01483 810 387) in Puttenham which is under new management with the Jolly Farmer, as an alternative, a little further on in Puttenham (both about 6.5 miles/11 km into the walk – starting in Ash). The suggested tea stop is the Swan Inn on the canal towards the end of the walk….

Enjoy the walk!

Saturday walk - Hollingbourne Circular via Hucking - the North Downs and an optional castle

Length: 12.5km (7.8 miles) or 18km (11.2 miles) T=3.253
Toughness: 5 out of 10

Catch the 9.25 train from Victoria (9.42 Bromley South) to Hollingbourne, arriving 10.31.

Buy a day return to Hollingbourne.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the route click here.

This walk has not had an SWC outing for nearly two years. It takes you up onto the North Downs escarpment into the Hucking Estate - "an unexpected oasis of grassland and woodland in a landscape dominated by arable farming". I don't know what the mud quotient is, but these are chalk soils, so in theory better drained than lowland ones.

The first lunch option is after 3.7 miles at the Hook & Hatchet Inn in the hamlet of Hucking, though faster walkers could wait until the more upmarket Dirty Habit after 6.2 miles, which serves food all afternoon. You can end the walk 2.5km (1.5 miles) after the Dirty Habit (the 7.8 mile version of the walk) by taking the "Curtailed walk" described in the walk directions, which brings you to Eyhorne Street - with two more pubs, the tea options on this walk - and then Hollingbourne station.

Otherwise, the last part of the walk is a loop through the grounds of Leeds Castle, the self-described "loveliest castle in the world". Unfortunately its loveliness is somewhat curtailed by the M20, A20 and the Channel Tunnel rail link running past it, and while doing the castle loop you will get motorway noise at some point. But the castle grounds are very striking.

The castle loop is on public footpaths which you are strictly enjoined not to stray off, even though  some tempting refreshment options lie just beyond them. Assuming you obey these injunctions, your tea options are the pubs in Eyhorne Street mentioned above. Another 600 metres or so brings you to Hollingbourne station.

Trains back from Hollingbourne are at 54 past the hour.



Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Chorleywood to Chesham

Chorleywood to Chesham T=3.081

Length: 16km (9.9 miles) 5 out of 10

"The Chess Valley is one of the most beautiful and tranquil parts of the Chiltern Hills. This walk explores it thoroughly, dipping in and out of the valley, with a number of fine panoramic views. Approaching Chesham there is a bravura finish over the hills that takes you right down into the heart of the town for tea."

Trains: Get the 0957 Marylebone to Aylesbury Vale Parkway train (Harrow-on-the-hill 1009) arriving 1024. Use Oyster cards. You can also get the Metropolitan line.
Return trains are: 1527, 1557, 1627, 1654, 1725, 1753, 1825, 1859.

Lunch: The Red Lion (01923 282 722) in Chenies, 6.5km (4 miles) into the main walk, is now a smart, friendly pub with a somewhat gastro menu, served from 10am to 11pm daily.

Tea: Various options in Chesham

Monday, 9 March 2020

Monday Evening Special Super Full Plough, Wind, Worm or Chaste Moon Walk: Guildford to Godalming (map-led)

Monday Evening Special Super Full Plough, Wind, Worm or Chaste Moon Walk: Guildford to Godalming (map-led)

Distance:          5 miles or 8 km for those more metrically minded 

Difficulty:         1 out of 10

Train:                18:00 Portsmouth Harbour train from London Waterloo, arriving Guildford at 18:31 – buy a day return to Godalming

Return:             Trains from Godalming are at 20:42; 20:54; 21:12; 21:25; 21:42; 21:54; 22:12 and 22:25

The full moon in March is a supermoon….which means (should it actually be visible) that it will look bigger than usual – particularly as it rises….It goes by many names….my favourite combination of them being the chaste worm moon…..Many of the names correlate with the coming of spring……not far away now…..This is a simple map-led walk along the Wey navigation from the center of Guilford to Godalming along a tow path with a meal or drink for those who wish at one of the hostelries in Godalming….

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Sunday walk: Leagrave to Harlington (with Shortcut 2)

Walk with Shortcut 2, 16.6km (10.3 miles), difficulty 4/10
Walk with Shortcut 1, 17.3km (10.7 miles), difficulty 4/10
Main walk: 23.1 km (14.4 miles), difficulty 6/10
A Bedfordshire walk featuring the young Lea river, views from North Chiltern hills, ancient woodlands, and an exceptionally fine chalk downland: The walk finishes in the hill top village of Harlington. The full walk seems a bit long for the time of year so Shortcut 2 is suggested (this gives you a taste of the Barton Hills and shares the main walk's lunch destination in Barton-Le-Clay).
Trains
The 09:48 Bedford-bound Thameslink from St Pancras International, arriving Leagrave 10:30.
Trains return at xx:06 (except the 17:04) and xx:36.
Get a return to Harlington.
Lunch
Several places in Barton-Le-Clay.
The Bull Hotel (01582 882 888) is recommended by the author.
Café Goa (01582 883 934) serves Indian Goan Cuisine. Open 12.00-14.30. 
The Royal Oak, (01582 881 329).
The Waggon & Horses (01582 882 011)
If anyone does Shortcut 1, they have only one option, The Chequers Inn, Streatley  (01582 882 072).
Tea
The Carpenters Arms, Harlington, (01525 872 384).
The Old Sun (01525 877 330)
Walk directions: here 
T=swc.229

Sunday Walk: Lewes to Saltdean

Lewes to Saltdean
15.5km, 9.6 miles to Saltdean. 4 out of 10.
A fine South Downs walk offering panoramic views. From the historic town of Lewes, the route rises onto the Downs then descends into Rodmell for lunch. Then a gentle climb back over the Downs to reach the sea at Saltdean. From here, catch a bus to Brighton, or, if there's still some lead in your pencil, walk all or part of the way there along the seafront (a further 5.25 miles, 8.5 km).
Trains
9.46 Ore train from Victoria (Clapham Junction: 9:53, East Croydon 10:03) arriving Lewes 10:49
Return from Brighton at xx: 57 and xx:27 to Victoria. There are also Thameslink trains to London Bridge at xx:08 and xx:42.
A return to Lewes covers Brighton.
If you use contactless on Brighton buses, tap out again on leaving to avoid paying maximum fare.
Lunch
Abergavenny Arms, Rodmell, (01273 572416).
Tea
The Avenue Tea Rooms, Longridge Avenue, Saltdean (01273 304007) "excellent cream tea".
The Spanish Lady, Longridge Avenue, Saltdean (01273 303383).
Whitecliffs Beach Café, Marine Drive, Saltdean (01273 309219)
There are more choices in Rottingdean, a further 1.2 km in the direction of Brighton. (St Margaret's church there has windows by Burne-Jones).
The Trellis tearooms, Rottingdean High St. (01273 302837) to 6:30
Molly's cafe (on the beach) to 5:30.
Walk Directions: here.
T=2.24

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard

CW1 Walk #41  - Bow Brickhill to  Leighton Buzzard
Length: 14.7km (9.1 miles). Toughness 2/10.

Catch the 10:15 train from London Euston, (changing at Bletchley arr.10:50, dep. 11:01) arrives Bow Brickhill 11:08. Buy a day return to Bow Brickhill.

Return from Leighton Buzzard xx:07 xx:34 xx:54 (fast)

T=1.41

Saturday Walk: Tunbridge Wells Circular

12 miles / 19.2 km

A varied walk through the High Weald - Eridge Old Park, Eridge Rocks, Broadwater Warren and the Spa Valley Railway.

Trains: 09:45 Charing Cross, 09:54 London Bridge, arrives at Tunbridge Wells 10:39.  Return trains from Tunbridge Wells at xx:09/39 and xx:21/51.

Lunch: An early lunch at The George Inn, Frant or a later stop at Nevill Crest and Gun, Eridge Green.

Click here for full details and walk directions

T=swc.19

Saturday Walk - Goring Circular via Hill Bottom - the OTHER OTHER Goring Circular

Length: 18km (11.3 miles) T=3.243
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.27 train from Paddington (9.35 Ealing Broadway) to Goring, arriving 10.35.

Or get the 9.47 Swansea service to Reading, arriving 10.10, and pick up the above train there at 10.23.

Buy a day return to Goring and Streatley (NOT Goring-by-Sea)

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the route click here.

There are two much better known Goring Circulars in our library of walks - the one with the sandwich pub (done last Sunday) and the one via Pangborne (or vv). But this isn't either of those, and it in fact has not had a Saturday outing for nearly three years. It explores a gently hilly area to the north of the Thames, with some woods...and that is about all I can remember about it, because it is even more than three years since I did it.

Perhaps it is the convoluted debate about the lunch pubs in the comments for this walk that put posters off. But as far as I can see, on its most recent outings the Sun Inn on Whitchurch Hill has proved perfectly good, and as for it welcoming walkers, they actually solicit our custom on their website and the wording there and comments posted on our website suggest the warning about having to pre-book is no longer valid: it serves food till 3pm. Otherwise there are two pubs in Woodcote: one (the Black Lion) only does drinks, but the Red Lion from its website looks to have a respectable food offering and does food all afternoon.

Goring at the end of the walk is not lacking in refreshment options and, the days now being longer, there is the possibility of an after tea extension along the Thames Path to Pangbourne - or even, it being nearly a full moon, a moonlight walk if conditions are favourable.

Trains back from Goring are at 18 and 48 past, and again changing at Reading in theory cuts the journey time to Paddington by around 23 minutes (50 minutes versus 1 hour 13 minutes)


Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Balcombe Circular via Ardingly

Balcombe Circular via Ardingly T=swc.174

Length: 16¼ km (10.1 miles). Four hours walking time. 5 out of 10

This is a variant of a walk from Haywards Heath: "much of its outward route has been taken from Walk 1–16 and the “Summer Walk” part of Walk #22."

Trains: The 1004 Thameslink Brighton train from London Bridge (St Pancras 0950 East Croydon 1018) arriving 1046. The fare is £12.90 so no network railcard discount. Note that the fare from Clapham Junction on the 1002 (change at East Croydon) is more expensive, so you will need your railcard. Return trains are xx52 & xx22

Lunch:  the Ardingly Inn (01444-892214) in the centre of the village, serves food to 2pm.  Also the Ardingly Café  and the village bakery.

Tea: The suggested tea place is the popular Balcombe Tea Rooms (01444-811777; open to 4pm, (may stay open later if called in advance). The alternative is the nearby Half Moon Inn, a community pub which serves tea and coffee all day as well as stronger fare. The station is a 7-8 minute walk along roads from the centre of Balcombe; longer if you take one of the nicer routes to end the walk.